Gibbs checked his weapon. "I'm out." "Me too," Kate answered, turning the rifle in her hands. Tony handed Gibbs a magazine for his service weapon, grateful that they carried the same model. Gibbs reloaded. A door opened on the roof. "Shooter!" Kate yelled, and made a running leap between the shooter and Gibbs. She crumbled to the rooftop but there was no time to check on her. Gibbs and Tony both fired at the shooter behind the door, until that target was neutralized. Tony was the first to think of her, but Gibbs reached her first, rolling her from her curled position onto her back. Gibbs pulled at her NCIS windbreaker until it revealed her vest -- and the flattened bullets embedded in it. Gibbs let out a short breath. "You okay?" Tony asked, trying to sound cavalier. "Owww," Kate moaned. "I just got shot at point blank range, DiNozzo. What do you think?" "You're not going to be going to pilates class tomorrow?" Gibbs took her left arm and Tony her right, and as she groaned, they helped her stand. "Protection detail's over, Kate." "You did good," Tony said from behind her. "For once," Gibbs said, with more than a hint of a smile on his face, "DiNozzo's right." Kate chuckled. "Wow. I thought I'd die before I ever hear him," and she twisted to tilt her head at DiNozzo behind her, "get a compliment--" The gunshot came from behind Gibbs, over his right shoulder. Kate was still in motion, turning to DiNozzo, when the bullet hit. It impacted her skull directly over her right ear, mangling the ear itself. Blood spurted out rapidly enough that Gibbs feared it was arterial spray. "McGee! We need a medic! Kate's hit!" Tony bellowed into his earpiece. "Boss, we gotta get pressure on that, quick!" * ~ * Gibbs hated hospitals. They were noisy, smelled funny, and invariably the coffee was bad. He'd spent more time than he liked in them -- and found himself again pacing a waiting room. The past few hours were a blur -- getting medics to Kate, getting her into the ambulance and then into the ER -- watching her be rushed into emergency surgery -- Ducky arriving to scrub in, to observe -- and he, and DiNozzo, and McGee... waiting. He rubbed again at the blood drying on his cuffs. He was drenched in it -- in Kate's blood. He'd been covered in bodily fluids before, but it was the first time that it felt like acid on his skin. She'd taken a bullet for him. The bullets that impacted her vest, yeah -- but he was afraid, deep in his soul, that the bullet that had pierced the side of her head had been meant for his own. * ~ * Tony watched Gibbs pace as he spoke into his cell phone. Periodically Gibbs would bark out another investigative order, which Tony would add to the ones he was already relaying. When his own authority was not enough to move the process along, he would pass the phone briefly to Gibbs... only to have Gibbs growl an order and pass it back. He wasn't sure who he was more concerned about -- Kate, in surgery -- or Gibbs, who was staring at the door to the OR with laser focus. Kate, of course. He was more concerned about her -- she was the one bleeding. But then why did his boss look like he'd been gut shot? * ~ * Tim had his laptop and Tony's set up on the lone coffee table in the waiting room. He'd already done as much of the paperwork and reports for the rooftop incident that he could, but needed his senior agent to look at them, and then Gibbs. But Tim wasn't about to interrupt either of them. Instead, he focused on complying with the barked (from Gibbs) or measured (from Tony) orders regarding the investigation -- and tried not to think about the fact that sweet Kate, his quasi-big-sister and personal superhero, was being operated on a few doors away.